We have nearly 100 veterans serving at Samaritan’s Purse, but God allows us to help hundreds more through Operation Heal Our Patriots—a ministry that brings wounded veterans and their spouses to a week-long retreat in Alaska. This Veterans Day, Kristy highlights opportunities that the ministry provides for veterans who have a heart to serve.
– Discover more information on the life-changing ministry of Operation Heal Our Patriots and how it continues to restore marriages.
– Are you a service member from a U.S. military branch who has been injured or wounded in active duty after September 11, 2001? Consider applying to Operation Heal Our Patriots for an opportunity of spiritual refreshment, physical renewal, and marriage enrichment.
– Learn more about the Good News of Salvation by visiting the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.
– Listen to past episodes that feature Operation Heal Our Patriots:
o “Celebrating 10 Years of Operation Heal Our Patriots”
o “The Lifelong Impact of Operation Heal Our Patriots”
o “Operation Heal Our Patriots”
Veterans Day, remembered annually on November 11, is an opportunity to honor and acknowledge veterans and Gold Star families that have sacrificed for our freedom. We have nearly 100 veterans serving at Samaritan’s Purse, but God allows the ministry to help hundreds more through Operation Heal Our Patriots. This program starts with a week-long marriage retreat in Alaska then continues through ongoing support and family care. In this episode, Kristy Graham sheds light on the ways that Samaritan’s Purse gives opportunities for veterans to fulfill their hearts for service long after their week at Operation Heal Our Patriots comes to a close.
Kristy first speaks with Greg Duvall, the educational and discipleship manager for Operation Heal Our Patriots, to give an overview of the program. Every summer, Samaritan Lodge Alaska welcomes combat-wounded veterans and their spouses for a week of renewal in the beautiful outdoors and enrichment through marriage classes. Greg shares that the partnership doesn’t stop there—couples have the chance to continue discipleship with Samaritan’s Purse even when they return home.
She then sits down with John Pryor, the director of Operation Heal Our Patriots, to discuss aftercare through discipleship, counseling, and fellowship.
John shares, “When they get back from Alaska, life hits them hard and we don’t want to abandon them. We want to stay with them through those hard times. There is also happy times. We want to be there through the happy times too – through the childbirths and the graduations. We are there for them through all of it.”
Regional chaplains are placed throughout the country to help build relationships and mentor couples. The chaplains encourage the Operation Heal Our Patriots alumni to attend a local church and dive deeper into Christian community through Bible study. Operation Heal Our Patriots also recently developed a key leader program that allows key couples to attend churches with new believers and help them get involved.
Corey Lynch, who was a visionary of Team Patriot, recognized the need for veterans with hearts for service to continue giving back. Corey shares with Kristy about how Team Patriot allows Operation Heal Our Patriots alumni to serve alongside Samaritan’s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief. When a natural disaster strikes and Samaritan’s Purse is deployed, veterans serving with Team Patriot have the chance to respond. This is not only a healing opportunity for those affected by disaster, but for the veterans as well.
Corey shares, “Now it’s a different war. There are not bullets and rockets flying, but there are trees on houses, people that are devastated, and old ladies that have nowhere to turn because it’s going to cost them thousands of dollars to clean up their yard or put back together their house. So, when I’ve been on those deployments, and I’ve seen the eyes and the hearts of our soldiers—who better to take care of the homeland? They went overseas to take care of their homeland but now they’re on the home turf. They’re not shooting guns anymore, but they can be in these communities, literally changing them for Christ’s name—for Christ’s sake.”
Ben Hebert, a Team Patriot key leader, goes on to share his passion for this ministry. Ben and his wife attended Operation Heal Our Patriots and gave their lives to the Lord a year later. They are now faithfully serving within the ministry as key leaders, and Ben serves on Team Patriot and the Disaster Assistance Response Team. He tells Kristy about the growth he has experienced and the necessity to keep his eyes on Christ and serve Him as he would serve in the military.
To wrap the episode, Kristy invites her husband, Edward Graham, to share his perspective as an Army veteran regarding the recent events in Afghanistan.
Edward says, “Jesus Christ is the only answer to our problems. He is the only answer for Afghanistan. So, my hope and prayer for these veterans that are struggling is that I want them to know that Jesus Christ loves them more than I ever could. He died for them. I want them to know that, to trust and believe that. To know they still have purpose, God needs them, God wants them thriving in His Kingdom.”
Thank you to all of our veterans—all who have selflessly served in the United States armed forces, and to those who have stood beside them. Because of your service, we are grateful to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Thank you for your willingness to defend and protect the freedoms we all enjoy.